Sunday, December 22, 2013

Jumping Spiders

Spiders are one of the most feared creatures in this world right after snakes, or they may share the top spot for phobias for most people. Despite the immense fear and loathing of spiders at sight of a spider it can’t be denied that they are one of the fascinating creatures. They have strangely unique and peculiar life styles and are found all over the world (except Antarctica) among various environmental conditions. About 40000 species of Spiders have been recognized from all over the world, with lots of new species yet to be recognized for sure. Of all those species only two families of spiders are non-venomous, they lack venom glands. Apart from those two families all other known species are venomous. But only large species of spiders have a fang large enough to penetrate the human skin. It can be said almost 95% of all spiders can’t harm humans. Red Back spiders found in Australia and the Black widow spiders are few of the spiders that kill human beings.
Spiders belong to the class Arachnida, and they differ from other Arthropods in having only two body segments; Cephalothorax and abdomen. The spinnerets, through which spiders extrude silk is located in the abdomen with numerous silk glands.  All known species of Spiders are predators. Most people associate spiders with webs, but not all spiders construct webs. Wolf Spiders, Jumping spiders do not construct webs to trap preys.

The Jumping spiders belong to the family Salticidae containing more than 500 genera and 4500 described species. Jumping spiders are one of the most beautiful spiders. They have best vision among all the other spider species. They are easily distinguishable by the arrangement of their eyes. All jumping spiders have 4 pairs of eyes, with two front eyes being comparatively large as compared to lateral ones. They are found in variety of habitats from forest to grasslands, mountainous regions and even common in houses. They are active hunters; they do not construct a web to catch their prey. They are diurnal as they have to depend upon their vision to hunt and pounce on their prey to catch them. They feed upon other insects. Some of the jumping spiders can jump more than 50 times of their own body length, and even though it doesn’t make a web to catch prey, they do release a filament of silk in case the jumping fails. They have venom gland that helps to paralyze their prey. Most jumping spiders do not live for more than a year. The jumping spiders are believed to be extremely smart. The mating ritual in most species includes moves almost as similar to a dancing. One of the most beautiful spiders has to be Peacock spider (Maratus volans). (fig below)

Peacock spider (Maratus volans)

Though most people associate spiders to be creepy and scary, the fact is they are one of the most important organism in the chain of life, they are friends of humans as they help to control the files and insects, pest harmful to humans and other living forms. Almost everyone I know fears spiders, most of them hate spiders, but I see no point in hating spiders at all, they can’t even hurt us if they wanted to, except the few species. But the point is there are more species of animals that are far more dangerous than Spiders. In case of spiders the hate is based on a book judged by its cover. They aren’t creepy if you know them and you ought to know them to judge them.

                                                          Phidippus putnami

Here's a link to the Courtship display of the Peacock Spider

1 comment:

AEMahler said...

A very nice presentation. Good illustrations with photographs.